ArcGIS Pro

Explore attribute fields and data validation in ArcGIS Pro

Geodatabases organize real-world features using a collection of tables, feature classes, and raster datasets. In addition, geodatabases allow you to extend these fundamental datasets to model spatial relationships, add behavior, and improve data integrity with the goal of facilitating simple and efficient display, editing, and analysis.

In this blog, you will investigate zoning and land use data for the City Of Vienna, Austria and learn how to use subtypes and domains to enforce data integrity while updating data. In this way, you can maintain attribute accuracy and consistency by reducing the likelihood of misspelling or providing incorrect attribute values resulting in coding inconsistencies.

Explore attribute fields

1. Go to the Explore Vienna data page in ArcGIS Online and choose Open in ArcGIS Pro.

The project is downloaded as a .pitemx file. Double-click the file to unpack the project package and open ArcGIS Pro.

Note: You can separately download the project package, start ArcGIS Pro, and unpack the package.

2. In ArcGIS Pro, if prompted, sign in using your licensed ArcGIS account.

Note: If you don’t have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account, sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

The ExploreVienna ArcGIS Pro project opens and displays a map named City of Vienna. The project contains zoning and land use layers for the city of Vienna, Austria.

3. In the Contents pane, right-click City Of Vienna and choose View Metadata.

View map metadata
View map metadata

4. In the Catalog view, investigate the map’s metadata.

Map Metadata
Map Metadata

Notice the map description, describing the role of this map, and review the credits and the extent setting.

Learn more about adding metadata to a project.

5. Close the Catalog view.

6. In the Catalog pane, expand the Databases folder and click ExploreVienna.gdb.

7. Right-click Zoning and choose Add to Current Map

Note: The Zoning feature class has an alias name and will display as the Zoning No Attribute Validation layer in the map.

The Zoning features display with default generic symbology. Your symbology will differ.

Zoning with No attribute validation layer
Zoning with No attribute validation layer

8. In the City of Vienna map, Contents pane, review the Zoning No Attribute Validation

Because this layer has no attribute validation, the layer displays using Single Symbol display.

9. In the Contents pane, right click the Zoning No Attribute Validation layer, and choose Attribute Table.

Zoning No attribute validation attribute table
Zoning No attribute validation attribute table

10. Optionally, move and dock the attribute table below the map.

Attribute information in a table is organized into rows and columns. In ArcGIS, rows are known as records and columns are referred to as fields.

11. Review the Zoning No Attribute Validation attribute table and note the field names.

Notice that the layer’s field names are generic and have no additional field properties defined. To make layer attributes useful, you can hide, highlight, and apply formatting as needed.

12.With the Zoning No Attribute Validation attribute table active, click the Data tab on the Features Layer ribbon.

13. On the Data tab, in the Design group, click Fields.

Display fields view
Display fields view

The Fields view displays a layer’s attribute fields and properties. From the Fields view you can create fields and delete or modify existing fields by navigating within the tabular view and typing or using clipboard functions.

14. In the Fields view, review the current field properties.

Notice that the Shape_Length and Shape_Area fields are visible and, as a result, are displayed when viewing the attribute table.

15. In the Fields view, uncheck Visible for the Shape_Length and Shape_Area.

Hide fields
Hide fields

16. On the Fields tab, in the Changes group, click Save.

Save fields view properties
Save fields view properties

17. Review the Zoning No Attribute Validation attribute table and note that the Shape_Length and Shape_Area no longer appear.

Note that updating a field property does not affect the source data in the geodatabase, this is a layer property and only affects what and how the layer displays in the map.

18. Close the Zoning No Attribute Validation attribute table and the Fields view.

19. In the Contents pane, turn off the Zoning No Attribute Validation layer.

Next let’s review the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer.

20. In the Catalog pane, expand the Databases folder and click ExploreVienna.gdb.

21.Right-click Zoning with Subtypes/Domains and choose Add to Current Map.

Review Zoning with Subtype/Domain layer
Review Zoning with Subtype/Domain laye

Notice that the layer is categorized and symbolized. The categorization is automatically applied when ArcGIS Pro detects that the layer contains a subtype field.

22.In the Contents pane, right-click the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer, and choose Attribute Table.

Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer attribute table
Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer attribute table

Notice that the field names are more descriptive and contain multiple words and spaces.

23. On the ribbon, in the Table group, click the View tab. In the Field group, click Aliases.

Display Aliases
Display Aliases

Notice how the field names switch from displaying aliases to displaying database field names.

Field Aliases
Field Aliases

24. Switch Aliases to observe the original and alias field names.

Aliases are a useful way to provide descriptive field name, without compromising database rules with regard to length and the use of spaces and special characters in a field name.

Toggle field aliases
Toggle field aliases

25. In the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains table, review the Zone Description field.

Zone Description field
Zone Description field

In this table, Zoning Description is the subtype field used to categorize features in the layer. A subtype may only be defined for one field in a feature class or table, and the field must be a short or long integer field.

26. In the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains table, click the More Options button to reveal table display options.

27. In table options, click Show domains and subtype descriptions to switch between displaying the subtype code and description.

Display domain and subtype descriptions
Display domain and subtype descriptions

28. The Zoning with Subtypes/Domains table updates to reveal the subtype codes instead of the descriptions.

Display subtype codes
Display subtype codes

For efficiency, the subtype field stores an integer value for each feature and maintains an internal associated lookup table that stores the descriptions. In this manner the geodatabase does not maintain multiple copies of the same subtype description but uses a many-to-one relationship to associate a description to all features categorized in the same subtype.

29. In the table options menu, click Show domains and subtype descriptions to switch the subtype description back on.

30. With the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains attribute table active, click the Data tab on the Feature Layer ribbon.

31. On the ribbon, click the Data tab. In the Design group, click Fields.

Displays fields view
Displays fields view

In the Fields view, you can identify the subtype field because its name is in bold and has an asterisk in front of the name.

Using the Fields view, you can apply the following:

Next, review the Number Format column.

32. In the Fields view, for the BuildingValue attribute, click Number Format.

33. In the Number Format pane, click the Category menu.

From the drop-down, notice that there are several predefined formatting options. Applying formatting does not affect stored attribute values in the geodatabase; formatting is cosmetic and is a layer property. Therefore, if the layer, map, or project is saved and shared, the formatting associated with the layer is also saved and shared.

34. For Category, choose Currency.

Change number format
Change number format

35. In the Number Format pane, click OK to keep the Currency formatting for the BuildingValue field.

36. On the ribbon, on the Fields tab, in the Changes group, click Save.

37. Close the Fields

Next, you will review the subtypes applied to the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer.

Investigate geodatabase domains

Domains are similar to subtypes in that they enforce data integrity by providing a list of valid values to choose from while populating attribute fields. Unlike subtypes, domains do not categorize data, are not limited to a single field in the geodatabase, and are not specific to integer fields. You can apply a domain to most field types and implement a valid set of values for an attribute or a valid range of values for a numeric attribute.

1. On the ribbon, in the Feature Layer, click the Data tab, then in the Design group, click Domains.

ArcGIS Pro, domains are created and edited with their own tabular-style view called the Domains view. In the Domains view you can review existing domains, edit their properties and values, and create domains

Domains view
Domains view
Explore the domains view
Explore the domains view

2. In the Domains view, note the properties of the domains. Each domain consists of a name and description plus a field type to which the domain can be applied. In addition, the domain is identified as either a coded value or a range domain.

Attribute domains are a property of the geodatabase and can be shared across feature classes, tables, and subtypes in a geodatabase. They provide an effective way of enforcing data integrity by limiting what can be inserted into a field using the codes in a coded value domain or the minimum-maximum range in a range domain.

3. In the Domains view, if necessary, click the Accessed_Land_Value

Review a coded value domain
Review a coded value domain

The Accessed_Land_Value domain is an example of a coded value domain. The choice of assessed land values are restricted to four choices in this domain. Each choice consists of a numeric code and a textual description.

4. In the Domains view, if necessary, click the StructureValue domain.

Review a range domain
Review a range domain

The StructureValue domain is an example of a domain, where a value set for a field is checked against a  minimum and maximum range and if the value is out of range, a warning is given to the user.

5. Investigate additional domains and close the Domains view when you are done.

Investigate subtype settings

Subtypes allow you to categorize a layer into groups of features that share the same attribute. Using the Subtype view, you can review the subtypes associated with layers, make edits to the properties of the subtypes, or create subtypes for a layer.

1. In the Contents pane, click the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains

2. On the ribbon, in the Feature Layer group, click the Data.

3. In the Design group, click Subtypes

Display subtype view
Display subtype view

In the Subtype view, notice that each subtype category has its own group of columns, allowing you to set a domain and a default value for each field per subtype.

Explore subtype view
Explore subtype view

In the Subtype view, you can separately apply default values and domains for each subtype. In other words, when you update a specific zoning type, the range of estimated building values may differ based on whether the zoning is residential or industrial.

4. Click the Domain cell for the LandValue

Notice that the drop-down allows you to add a new domain or select an existing domain to apply to this field.  Choices are filtered based on the field type. In this case, only domains that may be associated with a double field are displayed.

Use a coded value domain
Use a coded value domain

5. Click the Default Value cell for the LandValue

Notice that you are constrained by the Accessed_Land_Value domain applied to the field and can only choose one of the domain codes to apply as a default value for the Landvalue field for the Recreational Area subtype.

Explore domain descriptions
Explore domain descriptions

6. On your own, investigate the domains and default values applied to additional subtype categories.

7. When you are done, close the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains attribute table and the Subtypes

Editing with subtypes and domains.

1. In the Contents pane, click the Zoning with Subtypes/Domains layer to select it for editing.

2. On the ribbon click the Edit

3. On the Edit tab in the Selection group, click Select.

Start editing
Start editing

4. In the map, choose a Zoning polygon.

5. On the Edit tab in the Selection group, click Attributes.

The Attributes pane appears, allowing you to update attribute field values for the selected Zoning polygon.

6. In the Attributes pane, click the ZoneCodeNumber This is the field with a subtype.

Change subtype
Change subtype

The field is highlighted in green indicating that you can update or change the current subtype.

7. From the drop-down list, select Mixed Residential Business subtype.

Update default values
Update default values

Notice how you are warned that you are about to update the subtype. You can also choose to update the default attribute values assigned to the new subtype.

8. In the Change Subtype pane, click Yes.

Notice how field values that have a default value applied are updated automatically, thereby improving editing efficiency and maintaining data integrity.

Updated default values
Updated default values

You can update attributes independently as needed and override the values set by the default. Lets override the default setting for Estimated land Value.

9. In the Attributes pane, click Estimated Land Value.

The drop-down list displays the land value options, as defined in the coded value domain applied to this field.

Update field value using coded value domain
Update field value using coded value domain

Optionally change the current value.

10. In the Attributes pane, click Estimated Building Value.

This field has a range domain applied and does not have a list of valid values for you to choose from.

In this case, you can type a value, and the range domain will compare the value with the minimum and maximum values set.

11. For Estimated Building Value, type 100000000 and press Enter.

Value out of range
Value out of range

In the Attributes pane, notice the red highlights applied to the field and the warning at the top of the pane. The warning clearly shows the minimum and maximum values associated with the domain applied to the field, indicating your new value is out-of-range.

12. In the Attributes pane, for the Estimated Building Value field, type 250000 and press Enter.

The warning is removed and the field will display a green indicator to show it is now valid.

13. In the Attributes pane, click Apply.

14. On the Edit tab, in the Manage Edits group, click Save.

Save edits
Save edits

15. On the Save Edits dialog box, click Yes.

16. Close the Attributes pane and save the project.

On your own

Conclusion

Errors can sneak into any dataset, but once your feature count exceeds a few hundred, it becomes very difficult to manually sort through and ensure that you don’t have any typos or other errors. Sometimes multiple people will be editing the same feature class, increasing the opportunity for errors.

Assigning domains to attribute fields creates restrictions on the allowable values, so you can’t enter misspelled words, or numeric values outside a defined range. Domains help to ensure that your feature classes and tables  remains consistent and accurate.

Subtypes can also apply restrictions on allowable attribute values, but only on one integer field per feature class. The true power of subtypes is their ability to classify or group your data and make it perform faster by storing information more efficiently as an integer instead or storing large numbers of the same descriptive strings.

About the author

Colin Childs is a product engineer for Learn ArcGIS team at Esri who has been doing GIS for 30 years. Before coming to Esri in 2001, he was an Esri software instructor for the Esri distributor in South Africa. A CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+), Childs holds Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop Professional, Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Management Professional, and Esri Certified Enterprise Geodatabase Management Associate and was an instructor at Esri’s corporate offices in Redlands for 15 years. He holds bachelor and honors degrees in geography from Rand Afrikaans University (Now UJ -University Of Johannesburg).

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